How to: Make your Own – General Tso’s Tofu

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Yo. Meat lovers.

If ever there were ever a reason to start eating tofu, here it is.

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A perfect storm of intense flavour, perfect texture and…damn it, it’s just glorious. Trust me.

The inspiration behind this one is Dana over at The Minimalist Baker. Both Dara and I have been infatuated with this recipe since discovering it.  We’ve even inspired a few friends to try it, with resounding success!

My version is super close to the original, with a few less steps. Delicious: simplified *fist bump*

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When using extra firm tofu, to get the ‘meatiest’ texture possible, you want to remove as much moisture as possible. This is what wrapping in towels and weighting it will do.  However, if you need dinner on the table 10 minutes sooner, you can skip this step. Just pat the tofu dry before marinating.

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Ginger is one of my fave flaves. I’ve probably mentioned this a zillion times, but it’s totally worth mentioning again.  Freeze your ginger and grate it with a microplane. I don’t even peel it (👈🏻badass).  It’s such a quick and efficient way to use fresh ginger and there’s no waste, because you can just baggie-it and pop it back in the freezer for next time.

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I quickly realized this recipe requires a double batch at our house (pictured above). I’m guessing you’re gonna want to go that route once you try it, too. Maybe even triple-sies.

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Let’s talk about the cornstarch step.  I’ve tried the recipe with and without this.  Again, not totally necessary from a flavour perspective, but you’ll get some some nice crispy bits if you follow this step.

I found using a non-stick frying pan or a wok worked best to stir-fry the tofu.  When I tried using a non-non-stick (does that make sense?), it was kind of a sticky burny mess, even with lots of oil.

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I’ve left stir-frying the garlic and ginger right until the end.  When cooking at a high heat, these delicate flavours will burn quick and taste like hell when they do.  So no burning stuff, k?

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Once you add the marinade, it will begin to get thick and a little sticky and it will smell completely irresistible. Add the tofu, sprinkle on some seeds and eat the heck out of it. FAST. Before anyone else can.

Erin

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General Tso Tofu

Serves 3-4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Website Adapated from The Minimalist Baker's General Tso's Tofu

Ingredients

  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch (divided)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
  • 1 bunch green onions (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Marinade & Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1.5 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or more to taste)

Directions

1. Wrap tofu in a few layers of paper towel or a clean, dry dishcloth. Place wrapped tofu under a heavy pot or under a plate weighted with some canned goods. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Cut tofu into approximately 1" cubes.
2. To a large shallow dish, add ingredients for marinade and whisk to combine. Add cubed tofu and toss until all sides are coated. Marinate for at least 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Transfer tofu, piece by piece to a large freezer bag. Reserve marinade and whisk in 1 Tbsp corn starch.
3. Add remaining 2 Tbsp of cornstarch to freezer bag, seal bag and toss to combine. Tofu should have a gummy coating.
4. In a large non-stick sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat, heat 2 Tbsp of the canola oil. Carefully add tofu and stir-fry for about 4 minutes, stirring and flipping tofu pieces to evenly brown on all sides. Remove tofu and set aside.
5. Add remaining canola oil and heat over medium-high. Add green onions, stir-fry for one minute. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
6. Add reserved marinade, reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add tofu pieces and stir to combine and evenly coat tofu. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Serve immediately to enjoy the crispy tofu bits.

How To: Quickie Meal – Lime and Curry Marinated Tofu Stir Fry with Mushrooms, Red Peppers, and Corn

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I’m always looking for new ways to jazz up that old block of tofu.

We’ve roasted it, we’ve served it cold, we’ve even turned it into a delicious burger. Can you believe we have yet to stir fry it?! I know, crazy town!

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I think stir-frying has to be the most common method of cooking up some extra firm tofu. And it’s something we do fairly regularly in my household. And once I realized I have yet to share this method with you, I braved the hundred degree heat wave, broke out my wok, and cranked up my stove to cook up this lime and curry flavoured dish.

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I love this dish because it isn’t your usual Asian flavoured stir fry – it has flavours of both Mexico and India and I love it wrapped up in a soft tortilla with a scoop of salsa and guac, served over a bed of quinoa or rice, or just eaten as is.

So blast your AC and get stir-fryin’!

Dara

Curry and Lime Marinated Tofu Stir Fry with Corn, Mushrooms, and Red Peppers

Serves 3
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Williams Sonoma

Ingredients

  • 2 Tsp olive oil
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 4 Tsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 1 inch piece of ginger (peeled and grated)
  • 1 block of tofu (cut in cubes)
  • 8oz cremini mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 1 red pepper (sliced)
  • 1 bunch of green onions (chopped)
  • 1 small can of corn (drained and rinsed)
  • 2-4 Tbsp cilantro (chopped)

Note

This stir fry is great on it's own or served with rice or quinoa. I also like to serve it topped with some guacamole, salsa, and some tortilla chips for scooping.

Directions

1. Combine olive oil, lime juice, curry powder, soy sauce, and ginger in a large bowl. Add tofu and let marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. Heat a non stick wok or large skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add mushrooms and cook until they start to brown and release some liquid. Add garlic and green onions and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add corn and red peppers and cook another 2-3 minutes, until the red pepper softens.
3. Add tofu with all the marinade and cook until the liquid evaporates and the tofu begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

 

How To: Quickie Meal – Sesame Noodle Bowls

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I’m having a bit of a love affair with bowls.

Quinoa bowls, rice bowls, and most recently, noodle bowls. Now we all know I’ve had a thing for food in bowls for quite some time, but  noodles have recently become the latest and greatest thing in my house.

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They are also very helpful for getting a toddler to eat their dinner. I bet you didn’t know that long and slurpable noodles were just about the funniest thing on this planet? And eating them? Well the most fun ever!

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What also helps is the delicious sesame peanut sauce that gets poured over top of these extra fun noodles. And my daughter is the sauce queen – having recently discovered the wonders of hollandaise sauce, this rich and creamy sauce is now the new fave.

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Any long noodle would work in this dish. Having made this more than once recently, I’ve tried my share of noodle varieties. One of my favourites is the sweet potato noodle. They are so hard to find in the regular grocery store, but a friend of mine snagged a package for me in Kensington market. I just love how chewy they are. But rice noodles would be a close second and those are readily found in your local grocery store.

Ditch the plate, grab a bowl of noodles, and douse ’em with sauce!

Dara

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Sesame Noodle Bowls

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Pound rice noodles (udon noodles, whole wheat spaghetti, sweet potato noodles would all work)
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 1.5 Tbsp all natural peanut butter
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1.5 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1.5 cucumbers (thinly sliced)
  • 1 block of tofu (cubed)
  • handful cilantro and mint (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup peanuts (chopped)
  • chili garlic paste (to taste)

Note

These noodle bowls would also be great topped with leftover shrimp or chicken in place of the tofu. Any long noodle would work in place of the rice noodle.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread tofu out evenly on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 20-35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and firm. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package direction. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine tahini, sesame oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and garlic. Mix well. Pour over noodles and toss to coat.
4. Divide noodles evenly among bowls. Top with tofu, cucumber slices, mint, cilantro and peanuts. Drizzle with chili garlic sauce, to taste.

 

How To: Seasonal Cooking – Spinach Salad Bowls with Candied Walnuts and Honey Basil Dressing

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Howdy y’all! Everyone have a good weekend? How amazing was this past Saturday’s weather? I mean it was practically t-shirt and shorts weather. Do you know what else kind of weather it was? Salad for dinner weather.

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This spring  season is also the season we have salad for dinner about twice a week. I love me a big pot of chill or stew, but it is this time of year that I crack open the salad section of my recipe binder.

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The important thing with salads for dinner is ensuring they are jam packed with loads of goodies so you aren’t hungry an hour later. And this spinach salad is overflowing with lots of delicious and filling additions. Crispy roasted corn, broccoli, and peppers, sweet and savoury candied walnuts, lots of creamy old cheddar, and a fresh basil dressing. To reference Seinfeld, this is one “big salad!”

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I’ve also thrown in some roasted tofu for added protein and staying power. Some leftover chicken or steak would also be a great addition.

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It’s t-shirt weather and salad for dinner weather- the best kind of weather if you ask me!

Dara

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Spinach Salad Bowls with Candied Walnuts and Honey Basil Dressing

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Salad
Website Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients

Candied Walnuts

  • 3/4 cups walnut halves
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tsp paprika
  • 1/4 Tsp salt

Salad

  • 1 head broccoli (cut into florets)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 Cups canned corn (drained)
  • 2 Large handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 Pint grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 Block tofu (cubed)
  • 1 cup old cheddar (cubed)

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Note

This main course salad is my new favourite summer salad. It is also totally customizable - use chicken in place of tofu, zucchini or cauliflower in place of the broccoli and red pepper, and pecans or almonds in place of the walnuts. If making ahead, leave dressing and walnuts on the side until ready to serve.

Directions

Candied Walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl combine honey, olive oil, paprika, and salt. Add walnuts and mix until coated. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 7-10 minutes. Set aside to cool and harden.
Salad
2. Increase oven temp to 400 and line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Place corn, red pepper, and broccoli and baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 25 minutes, until brown. Set aside to cool.
3. Place tofu on baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until brown. Remove to cool.
4. In a large bowl combine the spinach, tomatoes, roasted vegetables, tofu, cheddar, and walnuts. Top with dressing and dig in!
Dressing
5. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or mini chopper and pulse until combined.

 

How to: Quickie Meal – Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce Pizza

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Italian-thai fusion. So hot right now.

Or, I made that up to hook you.

But please friends, for the love of Pete, you’ve got to try this.

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I’ve seen different takes on the thai/pizza infusion throughout the blogosphere and while intrigued, have always been a little skeptical.

I decided to revamp a recipe from Kevin over at Closet Cooking to make it vegetarian and holy moly guys,  I basically exploded with joy at how good (and easy!) this was.

You can go ahead and make your own pizza dough for this if you’re keen. Lookie here, we’ve even got one right on the blog! Using premade frozen dough or crusts will speeds things up though.

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The tofu is simply crumbled raw, and when you add some of the peanut sauce it soaks up the flavour like a sponge. A delicious sponge you want to shove in your face.

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Then, you just-a make-a your pizza, and badda bing badda boom…glorious bubbly goodness.

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Erin

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce Pizza

Serves 2 - 12 inch pizzas
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Website Lightly adapted from Closet Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 packet extra firm tofu (crumbled)
  • 300g mozzarella cheese (finely grated - about 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 4 green onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves (substitute parsley if you dislike cilantro)

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (natural will work too)
  • 2/3 cups full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (use soy sauce sauce as a substitute)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (if using natural peanut butter, adjust sweetness to your liking)
  • 1 tablespoon thai red curry paste

Note

If you'd prefer to forgo the tofu, replace it with leftover shredded chicken.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450F. If you have a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven.
2. In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients for peanut sauce and whisk together until smooth. It should be the consistency of a regular pizza sauce.
3. Add about 1/4 cup peanut sauce to crumbled tofu and stir until all tofu is lightly covered with sauce. You may need an additional Tbsp or two.
4. Divide the remaining peanut sauce in two and spread over the base of your pizza crust. If there is any leftover sauce, you can combine it with the crumbled tofu or use it for a really great dipping sauce. Divide the cheese and sprinkle over each pizza.
5. Cover pizza with carrots, bean sprouts and green onions and bake for about 8-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and brown around the edges and the tips of the bean sprout are beginning to char. Use the broiler for the last minute or two if you find it's not browning to your liking.
6. Sprinkle peanuts and cilantro over pizza and serve.